Thailand’s Road Safety Directing Center reports almost 400 died in approximately 3,300 road accidents nationwide during New Years. Road deaths and accidents this year, up 5% from the same period last year.
A total of 392 people were killed and 3,326 others were injured in 3,333 accidents over the past seven days, the Road Safety Directing Center reported.
Only seven provinces in Thailand reported no road deaths: Nakhon Nayok, Narathiwat, Nan, Mae Hong Son, Ranong, Amnat Charoen and Uttaradit.
Throughout the New Year road campaign, Chiang Mai logged the most accidents and injuries (115 and 117 respectively) while Chiang Rai saw the most deaths (18).
Speeding was the major cause of accidents (33.6%), followed closely by drink-driving (33.1%).
The riskiest behaviours were not wearing helmets (59.3%) and drink-driving (25.1%).
Motorcycles were involved in the most accidents (82.5%), followed by pickup-trucks (6.2%).
Most accidents occurred on straight roads (65.8%) and during 4-8pm (27.4%).
On Monday, the last day of the campaign, 265 accidents took place, resulting in 22 deaths and 271 injuries.
Deputy Interior Minister Nipon Boonyamanee told the Bangkok Post the ministry had instructed provincial authorities and volunteers to plan more preventive measures based on the new data to minimize the major causes such as drink-driving and failure to wear helmets.
Life and death on Thailand’s lethal roads
Thailand’s roads are the deadliest in Southeast Asia and among the worst in the world, according to the World Health Organisation. About 20,000 people die in road accidents each year, or about 56 deaths a day.
Despite a myriad of government measures to reduce road casualties, they show no sign of abating.
There is a ritual that is now very familiar to Thais, before the two big holiday seasons of the year, in late December for the new year, and in April for the Songkran Festival.
Sometimes good citizens will run publicity stunts, like the coffin-maker, who last year invited journalists to film the huge stockpile his workers were building up for the holiday season. And every year these efforts fail.
The grim statistics of death and injury on the roads are tallied each day in the media with, as often as not, worse figures than the year before.